Magazine article American Banker

Bank Fund Data Become Scarce as Channels Blur

Magazine article American Banker

Bank Fund Data Become Scarce as Channels Blur

Article excerpt

Data on mutual fund companies' sales through banks are so hard to come by that Ken Kehrer, the guru of the subject, has thrown in the towel on trying to produce quarterly reports about it.

Though it would be easy to jump to the conclusion that the unavailability of figures stems from a sales downturn and reluctance among companies to publicize bad news, other factors appear to be at play. Key among them is the way fund companies view sales channels.

Mr. Kehrer, the president of the Princeton, N.J., bank consulting firm Kenneth Kehrer Associates, pioneered the tracking of the bank market for mutual funds -- their creation and distribution -- and has been doing so for close to two decades.

Things first began to look shaky early this year when Mr. Kehrer took a pass on including mutual fund data in the 2000 bank distribution report he published in February. By mid-year 2001, it was clear that his fund data sources had pretty much dried up; midyear mutual fund data did not emerge this summer.

"Trying to get numbers from these guys is like pulling teeth," Mr. Kehrer said.

"The numbers that came in for December came in so late, and were incomplete, that I decided not to publish," he said. And for the first half of 2001, he said he is still collecting numbers.

Mr. Kehrer still plans to publish data on an annual basis.

Geoff Bobroff, a mutual fund consultant based in Rhode Island, said some fund companies may hesitate to break out the bank sales data because it is hard to do so, since distribution channels are increasingly being combined. …

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